“All main elements were met,” said Dr. Paula Furr, head of the Department of Education Leadership and Technology. “This is a nationally recognized master’s program in education technology. The program is ideal for people who want to become the technology coordinator or facilitator for their school or anyone interested in learning how to integrate technology into classroom instruction in a meaningful way. Northwestern State is a pioneer and a leader in Louisiana in this field.”
Northwestern State’s Education Technology Leadership (ETEC) program offers instruction strategies in ways to make technology an integral aspect of learning. Participants learn to write technology plans for their schools and explore ways to tap resources for technology support.
“I love technology and see how instantly engaged my students are when using it,” said Wendy Taylor of Livingston. Taylor teaches at Walker Freshman High School and completed the ETEC program last year. “I was hoping this degree would not only allow me to expand my knowledge of educational technology but also help me see its benefits in the larger context of student learning and this program did just that.
“Before I had completed my degree, I was offered a position as an instructional coach on the basis of what I was learning in this program. Our school focus at the time was on increasing engagement in the classroom through technology, so I was able to transfer what I was learning through Northwestern State directly into training for our teachers. Now that I am back in the classroom, my students have become guinea pigs as I try out new technologies such as PhotoStory, Prezi, and podcasting all learned during my course of study.”
“Being an elementary school teacher in the 21st century requires you to be up-to-date with your technology skills,” said Hillary Gray, a fourth and fifth grade math teacher at Natchitoches Magnet School who also completed the program last year. “Throughout the program I learned about several programs that could easily be incorporated into my classroom at the elementary level. By creating various projects such has web-sites, web-quests, photo stories, and an array of others, I was able to learn how these projects can assist my students in mastering skills by using other resources than just a textbook. Students in today’s classrooms are very technology savvy and thrive on the experience of showing off their skills.”
Dr. Sanghoon Park is a researcher, an associate professor and coordinator of the Education Technology program. According to Park, education technology goes beyond using a computer in a classroom.
“Educational technologists or instructional technologists are creative problem solvers,” he said. “They identify performance problems in school and business settings; assess and analyze the needs of stakeholders, design and develop instructional technology interventions, implement them in a systematic way and evaluate the effectiveness of the interventions. Our Educational Technology program welcomes any students who care about the future of education and who are interested in designing, developing, implementing, and evaluating technology interventions to create a better learning environment in a school or business setting. In recent years, we have seen many cutting-edge ideas that have been introduced and developed in the field, such as personalized learning, mobile learning, educational gaming, educational simulations, augmented reality, pedagogical agents, virtual learning, etc., and I feel very fortunate to be a member of such an innovative research field.”
“I had a desire to get my master’s degree and was worried about going to the university and taking classes,” said Gray, who graduated in December, with 80 of her elementary students present for commencement ceremonies. “I have two children, a husband, and a fulltime job to name a few of my responsibilities. While furthering my education, I did not want to take away from any these responsibilities. With the option of completing my degree online through NSU's ETEC program, I felt that was the best choice for me and my family. I also felt the need to learn more about technology and its advancements within the classroom.
“I found all of the professors to be very committed to my studies and assisting in any way,” Gray said. “Even though I did not have the face-to-face experiences with my classes, I grew to know all of my professors quite well. Being in Natchitoches, I also had the opportunity to go and visit my professors should problems or questions arise during my studies. At any point in the program, all were more than willing to provide assistance either electronically or face-to-face. All of my professors strived to create online learning environments for the classes. Even though I never really meet any of my classmates, I felt as though I knew them all. I would recommend the ETEC program at NSU to anyone considering furthering their degree.”
ETEC is one of Northwestern’s 29 on-line degree programs. For more information on ETEC, visit the Department of Teaching and Learning website at dtl.nsula.edu and click or e-mail Park at firstname.lastname@example.org. For information on additional on-line programs, visit ensu.nsula.edu.